24. When coming into the stronghold of pagan philosophy such as Corinth was, whom did Paul persist in preaching, and why?
24 When Paul came to Corinth to preach the good news, he was not overawed by the worldly wisdom of the pagan Greeks. He did not try to display great intellectualness in a worldly way in order to compete with Greek philosophy and to show that he was smarter than pagan philosophers and thus to win followers. He did not try to tickle the ears of men who were seeking worldly wisdom, human theories and philosophies. He came there to lay Jesus Christ as a foundation for a Christian congregation. “And so,” says he, in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, “I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come with an extravagance of speech or of wisdom declaring the sacred secret of God to you. For I decided not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ, and him impaled. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and with much trembling; and my speech and what I preached were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a demonstration of spirit and power, that your faith might be, not in men’s wisdom, but in God’s power.”
25. In a situation like that of Paul in Corinth, how may a pioneering Christian feel, but what can he do?
25 Thus, like Paul the apostle, a pioneering Christian today may be trembling and feeling quite weak on coming into a stronghold of worldly philosophic wisdom. Yet he can make a demonstration of God’s spirit and power and establish the faith of others in God.
26. (a) How did the Lord encourage Paul in Corinth, and so what did he do? (b) Why was the Corinth congregation found still standing years after that?
26 Little wonder that it was necessary for the Lord to encourage Paul in Corinth, just as we read: “By night the Lord said to Paul through a vision: ‘Have no fear, but keep on speaking and do not keep silent, because I am with you and no man will assault you so as to do you injury; for I have many people in this city.’ So he stayed set there a year and six months, teaching among them the word of God.” (Acts 18:9-11) God’s Word was not put to rout by worldly-wise pagan philosophy. The congregation that Paul founded in Corinth was still there and flourishing years later when Paul wrote his first and second letters to the Corinthian Christians. It had been founded on a right foundation. It could stand firm.
The Need of Noninflammable Materials
1. When was the Christian congregation founded, and on what foundation, and how did Peter’s keynote speech show that fact?
THE only foundation allowed for “God’s building” is his Son Jesus Christ. The true Christian congregation, not Christendom, was founded on that foundation nineteen centuries ago, on the day of Pentecost, Sivan 6, of the year 33 C.E. at Jerusalem. Serving as ‘God’s fellow worker,’ the apostle Peter courageously announced God’s foundation for God’s building and concluded his keynote speech to the Jews there assembled, saying: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you impaled.”
2. To what foundation did Peter’s counsel to the conscience-stricken Jews point, and where do members of God’s building stand in this space age?
2 Then, when conscience-stricken Jews asked what they should do according to God’s provision, Peter still held true to God’s one foundation by counseling them: “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the free gift of the holy spirit.” (Acts 2:1-38) That foundation there laid has withstood the raging storms of the centuries. Today, in this materialistic, modernistic, science-worshiping, nuclear, space age, the members of God’s building stand unmoved on that same imperishable foundation.